Diets: My Long History

I was a fat kid. In fact, I was a fat baby. 9lbs, 10oz. I even got stuck during labor, and had to be removed with the salad tongs..  um, forceps.  I don’t really know what it’s like to be “thin”, “skinny”, or even “average” weight. I’ve always had the chub, and I always knew it. My mom was heavy, my aunt was heavy, and my maternal grandmother was heavy. My older brother was heavy, too.  Fortunately, my aunt, mother and brother were all able to have gastric bypass surgery and lose the weight.

I am the last surviving fatty in my immediate family.

My mother, in an attempt to lose her own weight as well as help my brother and I slim down, had us on various diets from the age of 9 onward. Nowadays people would cringe at that, but back then, I don’t think it was frowned upon as much. I remember my first Weight Watchers meeting, and along with my brother, being the youngest people there. It was a very adult environment, and my kid brain wasn’t able to embrace any potentially useful information, mostly because it felt like I was being made to go to school at night, too. I now realize it was probably just easier for my mom to take us with her than to hire a babysitter. But at the time, it sucked.

We fell off the Weight Watchers wagon multiple times, mostly because my mother would bring home junk food in a moment of weakness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to shoulder my mother with a lot of blame for my weight issues, but the fact is, I was a kid and had no say in the grocery shopping habits of my household. I ate what I was given, and I snacked on what was there, and there were rarely ever any fresh veggies or fruit, but always a big selection of ice cream, chips, soda, cookies, and candy. Make of that what you will. Needless to say, Weight Watchers, the 1980s version, anyway, was not a success for me or my family. I hear lots of great things about it these days, but I’m afraid my bias is too deeply embedded to permit me to have another go at this point.

When I was 14, we all started on Jenny Craig. I liked this program because it forced us to purge our entire kitchen of anything non-dietetic. Our cupboards and fridge were filled with Jenny Craig products, and everything else was reduced fat/calories/sugar free.  We picked up our weekly bags of Jenny Craig food, and had our (sometimes dreaded) weekly weigh-in, and stuck to the program for quite a few months. I lost close to 40lbs on Jenny Craig.

Gradually, however, we started rewarding our weigh-in successes with stops at the fast food joint on the way home. At my last weigh-in, I had gained 10lbs. Eventually, my mom decided that Jenny Craig was simply too expensive to continue with (read: she had some HäagenDazs in the freezer with her name on it, and I was standing by with a spoon of my own), so that is where it ends. I am still disappointed with that failure, because I was quite content on that program, and had I been able to afford it myself, I would have continued on it. Such is life.

I have tried many diets since, all with varying amounts of success. Obviously, any weight loss I did have was gained back twofold. Atkins was interesting, but I never felt healthy despite having lost weight on it. I also grew bored very quickly on that diet, and this is coming from someone who thinks bacon should be canonized. I realized a while ago that what I must do is quite simple: change my eating habits, my lifestyle, and my attitude towards healthy food. Simple, yes, but the motivation was lacking.

Type 2 Diabetes is one hell of a motivator.

So, there is my dieting history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The effects it has had on my brain and my food attitudes are still working against me to this day. I am in learning mode now, though, and my desire to change those attitudes is stronger than ever.  I feel that I have already taken some huge strides towards permanently changing my food perceptions, but I still have so many miles ahead of me. One step at a time, right?


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